Peter Weiss: “I was 20 in 1945”

Wednesday, 20 November 2019, United Nations Headquarters in New York

Peter Weiss: “I was 20 in 1945” at The United Nations Head Quarters, Wednesday, 20 November 2019

The international human rights pioneer Peter Weiss gave a lecture on November 20th in the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The lecture entitled “I was 20 in 1945” was held in collaboration with the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) and was the Sixth Annual J. Michael Adams Lecture and Conversation.

“One way is to tell the story of my world”. The lecture began with an Introduction about Peter’s personal history. Here, Mr. Weiss was drawing attention to the history of Japan, when the atomic bombs were dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Remembering the hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians who died, and to this point Mr. Weiss adds, that he still felt ashamed of knowing how they had died. From that moment, Mr. Weiss knew that he would be committed to work for a nuclear-free world.

As President of the American Committee on Africa, Peter Weiss was actively involved in the global support to the end Apartheid and colonialism in the region. His work included activities on decolonization in collaboration with several people fighting for human rights including President Obama and Nelson Mandela, delivering the message of freedom and anti-colonization.

Mr. Weiss concluded his speech with an emphasis on the critical role that the United Nations plays: “Let us not forget that the United Nations is there to lead a charge.” And he added, “You can’t achieve peace by just working on climate change, nuclear weapons or poverty or simply on women’s rights; if you want to cure the sickness within the society and international ones, you have to approach in a holistic way”.

Mr. Sitharaman reflected afterward on Peter’s remarks and added: “Peter is a fighter. A Fighter for justice, equality and non-violence”. By that, he referred to the anti-nuclear movement, human dignity, rights, and values. Concluding remarks were an encouragement of love: “The heart has become very narrow – let us not narrow our hearts.”

Cora Weiss gives closing remarks and encouraging words towards a more peaceful, just and nuclear-free future together with civil society, academia and United Nations partners.

Written by Amanda Koefoed Simonsen, Youth Delegate, Peace Boat.


Saffran Mihnar, At Youth Mobilization for Climate Action and the SDGs. Photo: OneUp Creations

To start Climate Week 2019 in New York City, Peace Boat co-hosted a special event with local partners on Friday September 20, ahead of the Climate March, entitled “Creating the Future We Want – working towards the 2030 Agenda and Climate Action”. This event focused on climate action and ocean conservation with a focus on youth mobilization. As a committed campaigner for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Peace Boat also participated in activities around the United Nations General Assembly, the UN SDG Summit and the inaugural UN Climate Action Summit on September 23rd. On September 24, Peace Boat joined the Big Ideas Talk to speak about its Ecoship and hosted a film screening at the Nature’s Climate Hub, entitled: “Against the Tide: A Journey for Climate Hope.”  During the SDGs Summit, Peace Boat spoke at the SDG Action Zone and organized an intergenerational panel on “Youth Mobilisation for Climate Action and the SDGs” in collaboration with UNFCCC. 

#RESTORETHECLIMATE: How do we restore the climate?


 Peace Boat US was involved in various Climate Week 2019 events, which took place throughout New York City. In the lead up to Climate Week Peace Boat US attended the Climate Restoration Forum where the main purpose was to raise awareness about the urgency of climate change and encourage civil society and United Nations delegates to create partnerships to restore our climate.  A wide range of speakers including the Rob Skinner, Executive Director from the UN Office for Partnerships, civil society leaders from environmental organizations such as Blue Planet, artists and youth, gave their perspective on the climate emergency. 

The Climate Restoration Forum 2019

CO2-levels are higher than ever

Today, our CO2 levels are higher than ever before at 415 parts per million – strategies are necessary to bring it down to 300 parts per million by the year 2050. Strategies are needed to reduce carbon in the atmosphere, as the dramatic changes in climate changes are the greatest threat to humanity.

The agenda of the Climate Restoration Forum was prominent: climate restoration is an essential part of the framework for climate action and we need leaders to imagine what it is like for the planet to be restored.

 All sectors have to work together to move the 2030 Agenda forward

Robert Skinner, Executive Director of the UN Office for Partnerships pointed to the fact that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be achieved by one single sector, we need all sectors working together to move this 2030 Agenda forward. Thereby, it is time to ramp up climate education efforts that can help us understand climate change and the risks that already exist. Further important perspectives on multisectoral collaboration, cross-coalitions, Interdisciplinary innovation, and financing were also presented during the Forum, and the main point was clear: attention and action are needed to solve key challenges!

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Natural Thinking: Four Transformational Ideas presentation


The 2019 Nature’s Climate Hub took place on September 24, 2019 at the Convene on Park Avenue in New York City. There were six speakers for the Natural Thinking: Four Transformational Ideas presentation, including Emilie McGlone from Peace Boat US. All of these speakers wished to raise awareness on the effects that climate change has on our communities. They all shared one common goal, which is to advocate for sustainability. 

Speakers discussed mangroves, coral reefs, and methods to restore food security and wildlife habitats in oceans

Since 1940, 50% of the mangroves were lost.  The goal is to expand mangrove coverage by increasing by 20% by 2030, equivalent to 1.2 million hectares. Coordinated actions are being implemented to expand the mangroves coverage to reach the goal. Coral reefs were a topic spoken about by the majority of the speakers due to the positive effects they have on our ecosystem. Meanwhile, it was discussed that losing coral reefs will lead to starvation, loss of homes, land, and culture.  Community-based processes are being implemented to reach the goal of building a future for coral reefs. People from local communities are being paid and trained to help restore the reefs. One speaker shared the fact that there is a connection between sharks and coral reefs- global warming is known to kill corals but the corals where sharks swam over, survived. A shocking statistic is that 93% of the heat captured by greenhouse gases ends up in the ocean. Earth’s five mass extinction events occurred due to the death of coral reefs. The proposed solution is marine permaculture.

Peace Boat US spoke about its Ecoship, which will start sailing in 2022. The ship uses solar panels and wind sails which will help the ship to reduce the CO2 by 40%, setting the example as the most sustainable cruise ship to sail the globe. The experience on the ship will also allow the bridging of cultures and the formation of friendships. Participants on the boat will have the opportunity to take action by joining programs to reforest the mangroves and restore the coral reefs, along with being involved in educational programs in the ports of call to learn more about local issues and environmental challenges facing each country.

Ecoship and “Against the Tide, a Journey for Climate Hope”


In collaboration with the Nature’s Climate Hub, coinciding with the UN Climate Action Summit and Climate Week 2019, Peace Boat held a special presentation on their Ecoship and a film screening, “Against the Tide, A Journey for Climate Hope,” sharing nature-inspired solutions.

Watch the film “Against the Tide, a Journey for Climate Hope”  here.


By promoting peace and sustainability around the world, the Director of Peace Boat US Emilie McGlone presented the Ecoship, the world’s greenest cruise ship. Ms. McGlone spoke to the audience about Peace Boat, and their vision and mission of their future Ecoship. The presentation was followed by a short documentary about the Ocean and Climate Youth Ambassadors Programme, which invites young leaders from small island states on the frontlines of climate change and ocean degradation to join Peace Boat’s Global Voyages. 

The Ecoship

The Ecoship is inspired by raw nature to support sustainable marine natural climate solutions, and is a transformational program to construct the most environmentally sustainable ship.  For more information please see the Ecoship website here:

Peace Boat US (Emilie McGlone, Director Peace Boat US) film screening of the documentary “Against the Tide” at The Nature’s Climate Hub. Photo: OneUp Creations.

Youth Climate Leadership at Battery Park Front Marina


Loaded with hope

The Climate Week 2019 Peace Boat delegation attended the Youth Climate Leadership event at the Battery Park Front Marina where speakers from various positions and businesses attended to speak about the climate emergency, action and sustainability.  The event was held in support of the Global Climate Leadership Movement and their journey to the COP25 in December where the ship the Martin Sheen will sail from San Diego, CA to Santiago, Chile. 

Compton Kids onboard the ship at the Front Marina, Battery Park

Sunbeams of Light

While the sun was shining on the Front Marina the amazing lineup of speakers and performers outshined the weather. One by one, the speakers enlightened the audience by telling stories drawing on science. Sylvia Earle, who confirmed on August 30, 2018 her intention to advise Peace Boat on the development of its onboard ocean and climate research lab, to monitor the state of the ocean and climate during the voyages, gave a factfull speech about the importance of taking care of the marine life below water and act in accordance to climate friendliness. Some of the other speakers attending, Xiye Bastida, Captain Paul Watson, and Henk Rogers underlined the importance of taking care of the climate. Later that afternoon the Compton Kids urged action for our planet through an overwhelming singing performance. 

Youth Mobilization for Climate Action and the SDGs


On Sept 26, Peace Boat together with Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) of the UN Climate Change Secretariat hosted a panel discussion, “Youth Mobilization for Climate Action and the SDGs.”  Mr. Yoshioka Tatsuya, Director and Founder of Peace Boat, together with the Director of Peace Boat US, Emilie McGlone, opened the event by introducing the Ecoship and the vision of Peace Boat.

Scrappy Meals, Chef Damon Versaggi, Peace Boat Director Yoshioka Tatsuya, Peace Boat US Director Emilie McGlone and Sara Van Eerdee. Photo: OneUp Creations.

Mobilizing youth in climate activism

The event featured an intergenerational panel and focused on youth and older generations working together for climate action, as well as South-South cooperation and North-South cooperation.

The speakers included youth who are actively working on climate action internationally and in their own communities with a particular focus on youth from the global south, as well as speakers from civil society, the UN and governments addressing the role of each sector in youth empowerment for climate action.  Adriana Valenzuela, Focal Point for Youth and Education, UN Climate Change (UNFCCC), Marina Ponti, Director, UN SDG Action Campaign and a youth representative of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, discussed their thoughts on climate change, disasters and action. 

Young dedicated panelists

The evening concluded with a young dedicated panel excited to collaborate on climate action and ocean conservation.  The panel consisted of Hatim El Otmani, Founder and President of Atlas4Development, Saffran Mihnar, EarthLanka Youth Network,  Selina Leem, Peace Boat Ocean and Climate Youth Ambassador from the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Azalea Danes, Fridays for Future NYC representative and climate strike core organizer. All of the young panelists agreed on the fact that action was needed in accordance with the climate changes. 

Pictures from the event can be seen on our Facebook Page.

United Nations World Oceans Day June 7 Celebration

The 2019 United Nations World Oceans Day Celebratory Event was presented by The Office of Legal Affairs, Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, and Oceanic Global.


2019 United Nations World Oceans Day, June 7, at the United Nations

The event began with opening remarks from João Miguel Ferreira de Serpa Soares, the Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Council, who noted the importance of the oceans that “connect and sustain us,” as well as this year’s theme, “Gender and the Ocean.” Moderator Lea d’Auriol, founder and executive director of Oceanic Global, then introduced Åsa Regnér, the UN Women Deputy Executive Director.

Ms. Regnér highlighted the various dimensions of gender equality and the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially goals five and fourteen, gender equality and life below water respectively. She noted the importance of including societies, such as women and those suffering from poverty, in decisions around issues that directly affect their everyday lives — for example, giving people from small island nations a voice in decisions about combating rising sea levels. We need to “engage dynamic audiences around ocean conservation,” Ms. Regnér concluded, in order to make effective and positive change.      

Judith Swan, International Consultant on the Law of the Sea and Fisheries and Law and Initiator of World Oceans Day, spoke next, asking the question: How do we reap the benefits from the ocean and protect it at the same time? Ms. Swan spoke of the challenge of gender-based solutions and proposed that women need to be empowered, especially in areas like the maritime community.

Moderator Mariasole Bianco, Professor of Environmental Communication and Dissemination at the Università degli Studi di Genova and Founder and President of Worldrise, introduced a performance on Gender and the Ocean in Pacific Mythology. Hinano Teavai-Murphy, Associate Director of the University of California Berkeley’s Gump Research Station and Founder of Te Pu Atitia, and Eparama Qerewaqa, Project Officer at the Alliance for Future Generations and one of the Climate Youth Ambassadors onboard Peace Boat, shared stories of mythology from their home nations in the Pacific, highlighting how for generations the ocean has been what gives people life.

Next, Kudzi Victorino Dykman, President of Ocean Revolution and Bitonga Divers shared stories from her childhood growing up on an island in the middle of Inhambane Bay in Mozambique. Ms. Dykman’s spoke about her inspiring journey to become the first female East African PADI scuba instructor and the first woman president of the marine conservation group Bitonga Divers.


Ms. Dykman speaking at the UN events.

Anne de Carbuccia, founder of One Planet One Future, and Jorge Manuel Gomez Poot, director at Elementum, spoke next. They shared a short video from their project of conservation and empowering women and youth in Mexico. Aunofo Havea, Sea Captain and Founder of Tonga Voyaging Society, continued with messages about the importance of igniting pathways for women and youth by sharing her journey.


The women part of the ocean conservation efforts in Mexico spoke at the UN through a pre-filmed video, as they were denied entry into the United States to speak in-person at the event.

Shannon Service, ocean journalist and filmmaker, introduced a short video from her new film Ghostfleet, which shows the harsh realities of forced labor at sea. Human trafficking surviver Tun Lin then spoke about his personal experience of working as a slave on a fishing boat for 11 years after being sold into slavery by one of his own friends. His words left a powerful impact on the audience.


Ms. Service’s film Ghostfleet premiered on the day of the UN event.

Angelique Pouponneau, CEO of Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust and Co-Founder of SIDS Youth AIMS Hub, shared her experience growing up in Seychelles and the action she took as a young woman to empower youth through programs such as Blue Economy Internships.

The closing keynote speech by Sylvia Earle showed hope for our future as long as we change our ways. Dr. Earle pointed out how gender differences and the values of women around the world can be helpful in creating solutions to restore balance in the oceans.

It’s clear the event’s focus was on the importance of gender equality in ocean-related activities, policy making and management of the oceans — and the impressive and diverse group of speakers made these topics a strong call to action.

This post was created and published by Arleigh Rodgers (Intern from Peace Boat US).

Peace Boat US speaks about Youth Education for the SDGS during the 62nd UN CSW Conference in March 2018

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

Mark Twain, “Innocents Abroad” 

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On March 13, Peace Boat US Director, Emilie McGlone, participated in a panel in a Parallel Event to the 62nd Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62). The panel, titled “Education for Sustainable Development: A Tool to Empower Rural Women and Girls” explored how education for sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of non-violence, and global citizenship can contribute to achieving peace and empowerment for all, and to improve dignity, respect and the overall living conditions for rural women and girls.


IMG_8501Moderated by Dr. Liberato Bautista, Assistant General Secretary for the United Nations and International Affairs of the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, the four panel members discussed their respective organizations in regards to utilizing education for the SDGs as a tool for rural women and girls to achieve sustainable development in their local communities..

Draft Flyer + Bios - CSW62 Event

LILY GRAY, Liaison Officer at UNESCO New York Office

“Traditional knowledge has been recognized as an important pillar of sustainable development.”

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is an ambitious, universal agenda, supported by all UN agencies, including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to IMG_8507.JPGend poverty through sustainable development by the year 2030. To begin the panel discussion, Lily Gray, Liaison Officer at the UNESCO New York office, emphasized the importance of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as a key element of quality education and a crucial enabler for global development. Ms. Gray discussed previous as well as ongoing initiatives taken by UNESCO to achieve the 2030 Agenda including: the UN Decade of ESD (2005 – 2014), the Global Action Program for Sustainable Development (2014 – 2019), and the annual UNESCO-Japan Prize on ESD which awards 3 individuals or groups $50,000 for impressive projects related to Education for Sustainable Development.

In reference to the empowerment of rural women and girls, Ms. Gray stressed the importance of sharing and strengthening “traditional knowledge”, or knowledge developed and embedded within the cultural traditions of indigenous, or local communities.

EMILIE MCGLONE, Director of Peace Boat US, ICAN Member

“It is important to bring the SDGs into local communities and to learn from their traditional practices to see how we can work towards a more sustainable future together.”

IMG_8517.JPGEmilie McGlone, Director of Peace Boat US, presented on the organization and its mission. Addressing questions such as: How does Peace Boat contribute to global peace and sustainability ? How can we be socially and environmentally responsible travelers?  How can we measure local impact ? 

Touching on the work Peace Boat does regarding disaster relief, the United People’s Alliance, and the Hibakusha Project, Ms. McGlone stressed the need for global peace and education. Appealing directly to the theme of the panel, Ms. McGlone explained the International Student Program which aims to increase access to peace education and conflict resolution training for young people from post-conflict regions. unnamed-2In addition to peace-building and  training, the international students programs have a strong focus on the Untied Nations Sustainable Development Goals and learn directly from the communities they visit throughout their time traveling with Peace Boat. This experiential learning is integral to the success of Peace Boat and international education. The ship, Ocean Dream, serves as a flagship for the UN SDGs with the Global Goals logo painted on the hull of the ship, and continuously promotes the SDGs in local communities while employing traditional learning and teaching. “When we dock in port,” said Ms. McGlone, “we are not there to teach, but rather to learn from the communities we visit.”


“Friendship is an undervalued commodity in this world.”

IMG_8523.JPGThe Pan-Pacific & Southwest Asia Women’s Association, celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, is known to be the only international women’s organization devoted to families, peace and understanding in the Pacific and Southeast Asia. Akari Yamada, head of the USA sector of the organization, discussed the the first part of PPSEAWA’s mission, friendship, and how it is integrated into different programs globally. Focusing on three projects, though making clear that there are many more, Ms. Yamada explained the work being done in Fiji, Thailand, and Indonesia to empower and strengthen women. From leadership training for marginalized girls in Fiji to the mission to ensure equitable access to life-skills learning in Thailand and quality education in Indonesia, PPSEAWA recognizes that “when we educate a girl, we educate a village.” The notion of education for all, especially rural women and girls, is more important now more than ever.

SAIONARA KÖNIG-REIS, Representative to the UN and Head of NY Office, Dianova International

“Women have so many talents, and often times their ambitions are taken away by the roles imposed on them by their communities.”


Dianova International aims to implement advocacy initiatives to defend and promote a number of causes. Among these are gender equality and women’s empowerment in all areas. Ms. König-Reis focused two areas where Dionova International is implementing positive change: Chile and Nicaragua. In Chile, the organization is working to equip women to become teachers and role models. By emphasizing the need of capacity building and sustainability of programming, Dianova promotes women empowerment through teachings of an amalgamation of gender equality, peace, and citizenship.

In Nicaragua, Dianova is working to utilize basic facilities in rural areas for education purposes. In addition to empowerment, Dianova in Nicaragua aims to break gender norms, implement family involvement in SDG learning, teach basic life skills, and prevent teenage pregnancy among the rural youth.

While Ms. König-Reis had much to say regarding the work done by Dianova in South America, she ultimately let this video to do the talking.  Thank you to everyone who participated in the panel and we look forward to more partnerships towards reaching women and girls in rural areas with education for the SDGs.





This post was written Shelby Moulton, Intern
Rutgers University Division of Global Affairs

Peace Boat Interns Attend the 2018 ECOSOC Youth Forum


This week Peace Boat US interns took part in the 2018 ECOSOC Youth Forum. Interns Gin and Zeynep attended a Youth Forum Side Event titled “Leaving No One Behind: A Lens of Practices that Strengthen Inclusivity in Poverty Alleviation”. During this conference styled presentation, DPI NGO Youth Representatives and other panelists engaged in a heavy IMG_2139dialogue concerning the importance of youth involvement in the area of policy making and poverty relief at the grassroots level. Afterword, the interns made their way towards the SDG Media Zone where they were able to attend a live broadcast in which various speakers shared their passion for the UN SDGs and the important ramifications that they have globally. Interestingly, during the broadcast, a special new partnership between SONY and the UN had been unveiled by actress Meghan Boone.


Later in the week, Peace Boat US participated in the “Youth 4 Global Goals” event of the Youth Forum. The event was about the new game that AIESEC and UN Habitat have teamed up to launch together. The aim of this game is to raise awareness about SDGs and to demonstrate to the youth that anyone can contribute to the realization of the SDGs. The game revolves around all SDGs and their relation to SDG 11. The main mission is to create better cities while fighting typical urban challenges along the way. #UrbanAction

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This post was written by Gin Sanchez, Intern

Rutgers University Division of Global Affairs


Holocaust Remembrance Day at the United Nations: Diversity & Lessons to be Learned for Human Understanding

This Thursday, January 25, the Peace Boat interns attended the second UN DPI/NGO (Department of Public Information/Non-Governmental Organizations) briefing of 2018. This week’s topic was titled ‘Holocaust Remembrance: Diversity and Lessons to be Learned for Human Understanding’. The talk included four guest speakers: Sarah Kaidanow of the Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center, Evelyn Sommer from the World Jewish National Congress North America, David J. Michaels of B’nai B’rith International, and Jason Sirois from the Anti-Defamation League.

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This event focused on the ways to continue educating young people about the Holocaust. Regarding Holocaust education, the Secretary General has laid out two guidelines: to remember the systematic attempt to eliminate Jews during the Holocaust and remaining ever watchful of the dark clouds on the horizon. All four of the speakers provided their different insights about new, innovative ways to engage youth with the realities of the Holocaust and similar political themes. They all showed a great faith in the power of social media and the ease of access it creates for education on a multitude of issues. “You have to choose to be ignorant,” said Sarah Kaidanow. The most poignant of the social media campaigns discussed today was the #WeRemember movement by the World Jewish National Congress. This movement has reached upwards of 250 million people at all levels of society, even including Secretary General António Guterres. The represented organizations also all believe in the strength and power behind initiatives to humanize and preserve the stories of Holocaust survivors. As Jason Sirois put it, “it comes down to remembering the Holocaust, remembering how we got to where we are today, and focusing on the future.”

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For more information on the four organizations and the work they are doing, please click on their links below:

Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center

World Jewish Congress

B’nai B’rith International

Anti-Defamation League


This post was created by Katie Grandelli (Intern at Peace Boat US)

“Peace is… Acceptance” Event featuring MIYAVI at the United Nations

On January 22nd, Peace Boat US staff and interns attended the Sixth Installment of the “Peace is…” event at the United Nations Headquarters in New York entitled “Peace is… Acceptance”. The event focused on refugees and the ways we can stand with them by raising awareness through music and art. It included a performance by Japanese musician MIYAVI, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, in collaboration with Japanese painter Fantasista Utamaro and Afghan refugee rapper Sonita Alizadeh. The event was hosted by Ambassador Koro Bessho, Permanent Representative of Japan to the UN, and co-sponsored by the UN Missions of Norway, Portugal, Indonesia, Germany, Costa Rica, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, Thailand, the Philippines, and Colombia.

The cultural event involved a special performance by MIYAVI and Sonita in which they both sang “Long Nights”, followed by two songs titled “The Others” and “What’s My Name” which were sung by MIYAVI. Throughout the performance, Fantasista Utamaro painted messages on the “Peace Wall” located behind the singers. At the end of the live performance, the audience had the special opportunity to write what peace meant for them in their native languages on the “Peace Wall”.

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During the show, MIYAVI spoke of his experience when he visited refugees in Lebanon and the positive impact he shared when he played music for them. Playing his guitar brought joy to people at the refugee camps and that experience showed him how to help raise awareness on the situation of refugees: through music. Along with Sonita, who became an activist against forced marriages after her escape from a marriage her parents had planned for her, and Fantasista Utamaro, the talented artists demonstrated how music and art can be utilized as a force for positive change. In addition to the music and art, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Ambassador Koro Bessho spoke briefly what Peace meant for them. An important and insightful thought from them was how not only does music and art provide a path to unite people and raise awareness on refugees, but how it can also heal people and help people/refugees readjust to life. Yesterday’s event confirmed that music and art can heal people; that peace is to create common ground for a common future.  



Click the song title to listen to MIYAVI’s songs

“Long Nights”

“The Others” (UNHCR Version)

“What’s my Name”

You can listen to one of Sonita’s well-known song “Daughters for Sale” by clicking on the song title.

You can see Fantasista Utamaro’s art work by clicking on the link:


This post was created by Amanda Davila (Intern at Peace Boat US)

One-on-One Event with Jane Connors, Assistant Secretary General

On Thursday, January 18, the Peace Boat US interns attended a One-on-One Meeting with the Assistant Secretary-General, Victims’ Rights Advocate for the United Nations, Jane Connors. This session was the first of the Winter Meetings organized by the UN DPI and NGO offices (Department of Public Information and Non Governmental Organization). Her newly created role in the UN is to deal with the sexual abuse and exploitation as perpetuated by UN staff, as well as to continue working with the Secretary General, António Guterres, to follow his initiatives for these issues.

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Connors spoke about the initiatives that she hopes to accomplish during her year in office. Her numerous plans all revolve around creating a roadmap for victims to realize their rights and including the entire international community in dialogue about this issue. She mentioned the role of youth and the power behind the incoming generation in combating sexual exploitation and abuse. One statement of Connors that stood out to the interns was that  “one allegation is one too many.”


This post was created by Katie Grandelli (Intern at Peace Boat US)

UN PGA High Level Event on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Agenda

HL-UN Event

Peace Boat US participated in the recent UN PGA High-level Event on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Agenda, where leaders from around the world gathered to discuss the challenges they face to mitigate climate change, making it clear that many nations are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure the well-being of the Earth today and in the future. The event provided an opportunity to highlight synergies between Climate Change and the 2030 Agenda and to gather representatives of Governments, International Organizations, the Private Sector and other stakeholders who are advancing solutions to implementation of the SDG and Climate Change agreements.

20170323_165436 (1)Agreeing on the fact that the planet should not warm by more than 2 degrees Celsius within the next century, it is the responsibility of each and every nation, developed and developing, to implement new practices in response to this ongoing environmental crisis. New, old and improved climate change action plans were brought to the audience’s attention through shared information on what has been tried before, what methods are actually working, visions of innovative approaches and predictions of a substantial amount of positive change. As was pointed out at the conference, global temperatures are rising each day, and we must remember that this affects us all. Temperature change is not limited to a particular part of the world, but contributes to all weather patterns globally.


Many representatives from developing countries put emphasis on their need for committed support from developed ones. Every nation is to provide concrete ownership and share the responsibilities of implementation of the SDGs. Peace Boat supports the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and the message stated by Ambassador Sareer from the Permanent Mission of the Maldives to work towards solutions to climate change across all sectors and take significant steps to reach the goals of the Samoa Pathway outcome document. Greater improvement requires all forces to join together to help those vulnerable populations in creating new lifestyles that are “harmonious with Mother Earth”. Climate change not only affects the environment, but trickles down to other SDGs such as poverty, health care, and social and economic growth. Representatives from the Philippines and Nicaragua stressed this point in order to present the need for assistance when determining how to adapt its population to the change. Representatives from the Permanent Mission of Sri Llanka agreed that, “Adaption is the most suitable way to approach climate change”, while representatives from Morocco reassured everyone that their methods of reducing greenhouse gases and energy dependencies continue to work. They are willing to transfer this knowledge to others and to continue to spread awareness to conserve the environment.

The 2030 Agenda,  which “recognises that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge” (according to the UN Division for Sustainable Development), and the Paris Agreement, which “brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries to do so” (according to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), influenced the direction of presentations for many speakers during the assembly. Representatives from Panama shared that what is done by other countries should benefit everyone. Integrating new policies, innovating strategies and assuring everyone’s commitment should start things off on the right track for a better future for the planet and its people. With Earth Day coming up in April, the shared perspectives were useful and necessary to spark innovative ideas globally and locally to protect the environment within our own communities.

This post was created and published by Sommer B. Flood (Intern from Peace Boat US). 

Creating Cultures of Peace: Art, Music, and Peace Museums


IMG_8964How can the United Nations and NGOs unite people and cultures to make the world a better and more peaceful place? That was a central question posed at a UN Department of Public Information (DPI) briefing  titled, “Creating Cultures of Peace: Art, Music, and Peace Museums” that Peace Boat US attended on  February 23, 2017,

Dr. Joyce Aspel, author of Introducing Peace Museums and member of the International Network of Museums for Peace, explained that peace museums promote understanding of peace as a significant part of history and provide a space for people to come together.  She identified some of the peace museums around the world, including Pasos Peace Museum,  a virtual museum accessible to everyone in which different webpages act as “rooms” in the museum.  Lea Giddins, a representative of the museum, explained how peace museums can be used to connect, empower, and inspire peace builders.

Next, Michael Dinwiddie and Mercedes Ellington, granddaughter of Duke Ellington, spoke on behalf of the Duke Ellington Center for the Arts and how music can promote peace and intercultural understanding.  They discussed Duke Ellington’s role as a goodwill ambassador for the State Department and his worldwide tours which started in 1963.  He wrote over 3000 compositions inspired by his travels, including the famous “Far East Suite.”  Mercedes Ellington shared anecdotes from her time with him on his USSR tour and discussed how “arts come to the rescue.”  Finally, Lily Gray, Liaison officer at UNESCO, and Hajime Kishimori, Counselor of the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations, both talked about the role their institutions can play in supporting cultures of peace. Lily Gray discussed how culture and art can be drivers of sustainable development and mentioned some of UNESCO’s programs that emphasize them.  For example, UNESCO’s General and Regional Histories focus on scientific, cultural, and religious contributions (instead of battles, kings, and violence) that support global citizenship and conflict prevention.  Hajime Kishimori focused on the role governments can have in promoting art and cultures of peace.

Overall, it was a very interesting event that brought into question how we define peace and how we can foster it.   It fit well into Sustainable Development Goal #16 (Peace,Justice and Strong Institutions) as well as Peace Boat’s commitment to connecting people from different cultures to make a more peaceful world.

This post was created and published by Lindsey Sokol (Peace Boat US Intern).